An interesting account on How Tara finally became Buddha
Many eons ago, there was a princess named Yeshe Dawa, "Moon of the Primordial Wisdom". She has developed the thought of Bodhicitta through her vast devotion to the Buddha. She vowed to become the enlightened one to benefit all the sentient beings from the Samsara.
During that time, attaining enlightenment was only possible in a male body. So, the masters advised her to pray for a male body in her next life. But princess Yeshe was determined. She carried out all her enlightened activities throughout the past, present, and future. All of them in her female form.
Thus, as a female bodhisattva, she became an enlightened Buddha. She was then known as Tara.
Click here to view this beautifully hand painted Tara Thangka:
At the relative level, the distinction between male and female is considered important. But the ultimate level of wisdom sees no difference.
In every physical system regardless of male or female, we have a special strength in developing our realization. In the female form, Yeshe Dawa chose to manifest the absolute and open nature of the mind. We call her the Great Mother.
How was Tara Formed?
Another interesting story of Tara establishes her as an emanation of Avalokiteshvara. For many eons, he worked continuously to fulfill his vow to liberate all sentient beings from suffering. Finally, he felt that his work was complete and that every last being was liberated. He thought all of them were blissfully established in the enlightened state named Potala. It is the pure land of Avalokiteshvara and Tara.
But when he looked again at the six realms, everything was still filled with suffering beings!
The same sufferings, miserable conditions, and difficulties were still there. Avalokiteshvara threw himself on the ground, as he shed tears of love and compassion.
From the tear of his left eye emanated the female bodhisattva White Tara. And from the tear of his right eye emanated Green Tara.
Both the Tara said, 'Don't worry! We two will help you.'
View Enlightenment Thangka: Tara Thangka Collection
Who is Tara?
"The mother who gives birth to all the Buddhas is known as Tara,
The melodious speech of all Buddhas,
their wheel of inexhaustible adornments,
Proclaims praises which resound throughout all buddhas' realms,
I prostate to the sovereign of all buddhas' enlightened activity"
So, Tara is the one who gazes upon all the sentient beings with a compassion of mother. Those beings whose eyes of discernment are blindfolded are unable to recognize the differences between what to adopt and what to abandon. So, drowned deeply in such miserable confusions, the oceans of sufferings seems never ending to them. To such beings in needs, Mother Tara delivers help as swiftly as a light flashes. Indeed, she is an epitome of heroic expression, a noble Tara.
In an ultimate level, she is a perfection of wisdom. She resides as long as there is Samara (the Cyclic Existence of Life).
Her practices related to Vidya mantra is found on all the four classes of Tantras.
Tara's Enlightened Activities:
An enlightened being has the capacity for enlightened activity. Tara's enlightened activities are numerous and powerful beyond comprehension. She is associated with such beneficial acts as conferring longevity, curing illnesses, stopping wars, and giving prosperity. She confers all the wisdom aspects of realization of ultimate reality.
Tara is also known as “the one who liberates." In the form of Green Tara, she liberates sentient beings from the eight great fears. As per the Buddha's teaching, these eight great fears is understood at several levels. For example, one fear is known as the fear of elephants. Tara's enlightened activity protects all sentient beings from fears and the causes of fears.
In Tibet, there are wisdom Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal and Machig Labdron. Tara has so many emanations and not all Tara's emanations have been widely recognized.
Practicing various forms of Tara such as Green Tara, White Tara, Red Tara, Yeshe Tsogyal, or Vajra Sarasvati practice can remove our fears, obscurations, and obstacles. It helps us develop the ability to benefit all beings, and assist us to reach enlightenment.